Tiger King star Joe Exotic’s husband files for divorce after ‘dashed hopes’ over failed Trump pardon

‘The presidential pardon we were all waiting for never came’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Saturday 27 March 2021 08:39
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Tiger King's Joe Exotic tells Netflix he's 'done with Carole Baskin saga'
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The Tiger King didn’t just lose his best chance at freedom when Donald Trump’s hotly-anticipated pardon never came, he lost his marriage.

Joe Exotic’s husband Dillon Passage confirmed in a series of Instagram posts on Friday (26 March) that he is filing for divorce from the Netflix star.

“The presidential pardon we were all waiting for never came and our hopes were dashed. I remain in support of Joe and want to be there for him,” he said in a post.

“This wasn’t an easy decision to make but Joe and I both understand that this situation isn’t fair to either of us,” he added in a follow-up post.

Attorney for Mr Exotic, Francisco Hernandez, told TMZ that he is distraught after speaking to him in prison.

The tiger trader was reportedly so confident he’d receive a presidential pardon in the final days of the Trump administration that his team said a limousine was parked near the prison to escort him home.

Mr Exotic is serving a 22-year sentence in Fort Worth, Texas, after being convicted in 2019 of trying to hire a hitman to kill his zookeeper rival Carole Baskin, as well as numerous animal abuse charges.

On his last day as president on 20 January, Mr Trump pardoned 143 people, including rappers Lil Wayne and Kodack Black. But Exotic joined Julian Assange as notable absences from the round of clemency.

Fans of the eccentric personality had expected a pardon after Mr Trump seemed amused by the suggestion during a press conference in April last year.

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When asked if he would consider the pardon, the then-president said he knew nothing about it but that he would “take a look”.

Mr Passage said his husband was “obviously having a difficult time in prison”, and no one could fault him for that. But at 25-years-old, he needed to consider his future.

“I am certain he wants me to lead a full life as all of you do for the people you love,” he said in a post.

“It’s something that neither of us were expecting but we are going to take it day by day. We are on good terms still and I hope it can stay that way,” he added in a separate post.

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